August 30, 2010 Off

The Creative Brief

By in Advertising, Design

When you’re brainstorming concept ideas for your ad agency’s next campaign, those ideas have to begin somewhere. As brilliant as us creative folk are, we sometimes need help to hone in on a good idea. We need to be pointed in a certain direction. Without knowing which way to go, a creative mind can run here and there and come up with creative concepts that are no longer relevant or practical. This is where the creative brief comes in. A good brief can inspire a creative team, clarify exactly what is needed to achieve certain goals, and give the perfect run down of who the creative should speak to. A bad brief can leave a creative team feeling uninspired, confused and uninformed. It’s important to know if the brief in your hand is going to lead your creative team to a good or bad place.

Some creative briefs like to ramble on and on. This is often the result of trying to cram in every tiny detail so absolutely nothing about the client or product is missed. Unfortunately, what starts out as good intentions can end with a lot of confusion. As with many things, simplicity is best. There should be only one key communication objective, it should be one sentence and it should be dead simple.

The brief should state what the current situation is for the client, their company, the product and how the target audience sees them. Whatever it is that the client is looking to change should be titled as “The Problem” and it should include whatever problem or lacking that consumers experience which can be fixed by the product. The product, its features and benefits will then be under another category, “The Solution”. With a simple breakdown like this, the creative team can really see where the product fits into the life of a consumer and how it actually improves some experience or circumstance for them. This is an important insight that will come in handy during brainstorming sessions.

A good brief will be very, very specific about the target audience. This goes beyond just gender and yearly salary. This should go into the way their audience thinks and feels–not just about the company or product, but about themselves, their jobs, their friends, their lives. The more intimately a company understands their consumers, the more room for success they have.

While certain specifications denote the difference between a good brief and a bad one, I’ve found that usually your gut will tell you how good or bad a brief is too. How do you feel when you’re done reading a brief? Do you feel confused? Do you feel like the product is not very beneficial to the target audience? Do you feel like you have a lot of questions to ask the client? Do you feel like no creative in the world will be good enough to sell this product? Or, do you feel excited, ready to start brainstorming, and already feel your mind pulling a few ideas and designs together? If you’re leaning towards the latter, you’ve got a good one.

About: Ian:
Hi, I'm Ian T. I'm a York grad and a copywriter for Eden Advertising. I'm the master of procrastinating. I like to use parentheses (sometimes). I love the LCBO because wine makes me happy. I don't blog, I capture moments in time.

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